Questions Answered by Michael Hales

Q: Is price fixing illegal in Tennessee?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Tennessee on
Answered on Jan 29, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
Although I'm not a TN attorney, I imagine that this is simply one of the terms of use for selling on the website, taking this outside the realm of price fixing. Your parents can sell it for $1 (and can advertise elsewhere for that price), but they can't list in on the website for that amount.

A while back, I wrote an article about timeshares for my state bar that you may find helpful. You can access it at:

Q: If I receive a 1099-A representing a loss of $13k for ditching a timeshare can I claim this as a loss? Will it help me?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Massachusetts on
Answered on Jan 17, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
I'd be wary of any attorney that tells you this. I've practiced law in Florida for many years and when I've helped clients get out of a timeshare, they will often receive a 1099 when the timeshare cancels the loan/mortgage. However, if the loan that was cancelled was $13k, the form will also report that the value of the timeshare surrendered back to the timeshare company was worth $13k, meaning that the transaction is tax neutral. There are a lot of timeshare scams out there that spread...

Q: Can I get my brothers social security money if my mother refuses to help support him?

1 Answer | Asked in Social Security for Idaho on
Answered on Jan 14, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
The easiest thing to do in this situation is go to your local social security office and start the process there. You may need to involve a lawyer to challenge your mother as payee for your brother, but I'd start with the local office and ask for their assistance first.

Q: I was curious if a timeshare contract can be changed if the original contract was with another company?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for Texas on
Answered on Jan 14, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
Small timeshare resorts are often purchased by larger companies that seek to bring the new owners into compliance with their general policies. They can typically do this so long as the new ownership terms are not seriously different than those accepted when you signed your original document. Of the changes you listed, I think your first (changing how you are charged) may be the biggest issue and may allow you to cancel or find other relief. However, it will be impossible to know without...

Q: I need help with a timeshare I signed up for on 11/19/18. I live in MI and was on vacation and Thanksgiving w. family.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Dec 11, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
All states require the recession period to be in writing. I wrote about this an article for my state bar over a year ago with some tips that you and your attorney may find helpful. You can access it here:

It also has some advice on how to avoid the myriad of timeshare scams. Best of luck and please let me know if you or your attorney have additional questions.

Q: My timeshare sold out to another company. Can this new company force us to buy into their program?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Tennessee on
Answered on Nov 26, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
Unless your contract documents saying something to the contrary, the answer to this depends on if the new company has materially altered the terms of your prior agreement. Companies are generally allowed to increase maintenance fees, but only up to a reasonable amount (usually 2-5% per year). But I'd recommend having an attorney review the documents.

Q: I am a recent widow and have been left with debt that I cannot pay. I am seriously considering bankruptcy. My question

3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy on
Answered on Nov 6, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
If the timeshare is your only debt, I recommend contacting the timeshare developer directly or through an attorney to offer it back to them in return for a discharge of the debt you owe. They frequently agree to this when I approach them on behalf of clients.

Q: Verbal business agreement to buy wood. Wood was not fully delivered and payment was made. The seller refused to deliver.

3 Answers | Asked in Business Law and Small Claims for Idaho on
Answered on Oct 29, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
Although you don't have a writing, it appears that you have evidence that a contract was entered. It will now be an issue of forcing delivery. Please contact an attorney if you need assistance.

Q: Which is State for rescinding a license to occupy a suite

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation and Contracts for Massachusetts on
Answered on Oct 13, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
It will depend on the contract you signed, but even if says something contrary, the state where the property is located will almost always also apply. However, there can be some confusion about this, and I wrote an article about this very issue with my local bar that you can read here:

Let me know if you have any questions.

Q: I need to ask for help with timeshare and timeshare exit companies help.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for California on
Answered on Oct 2, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
I'd be happy to help. I did write an article about timeshare exit companies that you can find here:

The short of it is that timeshare exit companies tend to be scams. They ask for money up front and do little to help timeshare owners. In fact, they cause great harm by triggering the owner's default on fees/loans, meaning that their credit scores often take a hit. But please let me know if you have a more specific question.

Q: How do I find out if my brother and I are named beneficiaries in our grandmas estate if my uncle won’t produce a will?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Kansas on
Answered on Sep 25, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
I recommend retaining an attorney to communicate with your uncle if he continues to ignore your requests.

Q: my Husband and his ex wife own a joint title in a time share in Arizona. His ex wife says I have to sign off on it.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for Arizona on
Answered on Sep 25, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
If Arizona's community property laws are like ours here in Idaho, you shouldn't have to sign off on anything. If the ex does not want the timeshare anymore, she can sign it over to your husband, or she can take it. Based on my experience with timeshares, I'd recommend trying to give it to her, but please let me know if you have questions about the process or options to clean up the ownership.

Q: Can I sue an ex for not paying for a timeshare because my credit score has lowered even if only 2 payments were missed?

1 Answer | Asked in Small Claims for New York on
Answered on Sep 11, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
It's possible, but title to timeshares are typically takes with both owners being joint and severally liable. Meaning that you are responsible to pay if he does not. I suppose that you could sue on equitable claims, but it may be difficult.

In these situations, clients have often hired me to make a deal with the other owner. I usually offer to give the timeshare to the ex or offer to take the timeshare off the ex's hands. Sometimes I've negotiated a price during these, but that will...

Q: I have a Retail Installment Credit Agreement for a travel membership. Can they sue me if I want to cancel? Can I cancel?

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for New York on
Answered on Sep 11, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
I would probably have to review the agreement, but in most cases, these can be cancelled by having an attorney contact the collection agency. Please let me know if you have any questions about this process.

Q: Can closing fees be recovered if contracts are cancelled within the seven day period? I paid with a new credit card.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for Arizona on
Answered on Sep 6, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
Yes, all fees must be returned to the purchaser. The association, however, is permitted at times to retain the value of any promotional items given to you at the sales presentation.

And if I understand your second question correctly, then yes, the new purchase contract would be rescinded as well. But having an attorney review your contract and rescission letter might be useful to ensure that everything was in order.

Q: Can gossiping be considered working in hostile enviroment. If it both me to the point go seek medical help to cope

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Idaho on
Answered on Aug 20, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
If it's sufficiently severe, then yes, it would be actionable. The question is whether the gossiping would be objectively hostile. You'll want to review the facts with an attorney.

Q: My father (PA resident) has timeshare in Nevada. Can I do the paperwork for the set-aside without administration?

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Nevada on
Answered on Aug 14, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
When I have clients that need advice on Nevada probate law, I typically refer them to Russell Bowler, an attorney at Bowler Dixon & Twitchell.

Q: Can a nonprofit in a one state involve lawyers from different states to help, and any other legal issues with my idea?

1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation, Business Law, Public Benefits and Criminal Law for Idaho on
Answered on Aug 3, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
There are going to be a number of ethical issues here for attorneys. For example, there are rules about referral services like this as well as how the attorneys would be paid. Because there are so many issues to discuss, I'd recommend finding an attorney to review this all in detail.

Q: I have a point based timeshare where do I list that on the schedules??

3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for New Mexico on
Answered on Jul 27, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
I had a client who listed these with their real estate holdings. When the timeshare is alerted that you have filed for bankruptcy, you will have the ability to give the timeshare back to the resort. I'd recommend this because I had a client who did not do this. And while her existing maintenance fee bills were extinguished when she filed for bankruptcy, those annual maintenance fee bills accrued while the bankruptcy was pending. When she came out of bankruptcy, she had very large bills that she...

Q: Can you sell a timeshare on contract? Can buyer handle maintenance fees while under contract?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Indiana on
Answered on Jul 19, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
Timeshare companies will allow the sale of the timeshare so long as it is paid in full. You execute a deed to effect the transfer on the public records AND you work with the timeshare company to effect the transfer on their records.

If the timeshare is not paid in full, the timeshare company may allow the transfer if the buyer has the appropriate credit worthiness and can assume the balance of the loan.

The best way to do this is by working directly with the timeshare company....

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